ascot aug08

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Gate woes at Woodbine

Not sure if it's the horses, the horsepeople or the gate crew or all of the above but a 20 minute delay in loading the 2-year-old fillies for Sunday's 7th race is just another example of how painful it has been to watch horses go into the gate at Woodbine.
Since the beginning of the year, loose horses, vet scratches and reluctant horses have plagued the starting gate procedure at Woodbine. in Sunday's baby race, one filly got loose and ran around for several minutes and two were scratched while in the gate after being fractious.
It was many more minutes before the remaining gals were coerced into the gate.
Betting on racehorses and on Woodbine's inner dirt track is hard enough and our track makes it even tougher with these continued problems with loading horse sinto the gate.


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Some horses to watch

Messy trips and young ones needing a are some horses to keep an eye for after this weekend's racing at Woodbine/Saratoga

Troubled trips at Woodbine:
ULTIMATE TRUFFLE - 3yo filly from Reade Baker barn, may have been best in 8th race Sat. ($20K claiming)
SEASON STORM - Tough trip when moving too soon while very wide - 5th race Sat. Ont.-sired allowance
BOLD N CLASSIC - scratched from turf race on Saturday - but prefer to see her in dirt sprint off troubled outing in last dirt sprint

At the Spa

Two-year-old OUR RYANN'S XPRESS, trained by Nick Zito, was visibly 'short' for her debut on Sunday. Tab for next time.


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Saturday, July 29, 2006


Kimchi, who sat a perfect trip in today's Wonder Where Stakes, was no match for the last furlongs of the 1 1/4 mile turf test for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies and couldn't sweep the Triple Tiara.
Hillsbrook Farms' Like a Gem blew up the video board at Woodbine with her 48 to 1 score, a remarkable win by a lean, leggy daughter of Tactical Cat who fared so poorly in the Oaks that most of her fans left her bandwagon.
"It's been a tough road with her, but she's a tough filly," said trainer Danny Vella. "She had the virus in the Oaks and then she needed a race before this one, so we abused her, ran her in a short race, but she's a great filly and she does great things."
David Clark rode the winner. Red-hot Todd Kabel managed to stretch 9 1/2 furlongs out of Sam-Son Farms' Strike Softly to be second and Stronach Stables' Spritely was third. Kimchi stalled and finished fourth.


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Finger Lakes Adoptions

Thanks to Woodbine Entertainment, the Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, LongRun Thoroughbred Retirement Society collected $20,000 from LongRun day at Woodbine, July 15. A portion of the wagering on the Dance Smartly Stakes was given to LongRun by WEG and the HBPA.
LongRun is Ontario's only thoroughbred placement/adoption society.
See its link on the sidebar.

*Interesting new organization that comes from Finger Lakes racetrack...check it out

Finger Lakes Thor.Adoptions


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Thursday, July 27, 2006

Executive hot, WO rail not?

Bits from the around the campus:

BOLD EXECUTIVE offspring finished 1 - 2 - 3 in the Passing Mood Stakes last night on the yielding turf at Woodbine.
Arctic Laur (out of Great Gladiator mare) won the race and was the first stakes winner for her owner Tony Gaito. Executive Flight was 2nd and Kick'em Jenny was 3rd.

ONTARIO MATRON STAKES is re-scheduled for Friday, spicing up an otherwise weak card.

The rail on the Woodbine inner dirt last night might not have been the best place to be - would that be because of everything sliding down that direction during the monsoon rains in recent days?

Stones have been laid on main track at Woodbine as Polytrack nears projected first day of training - Aug. 19.

Interesting note on the web today remarks how Del Mar enters 21st century by introducing hand-held betting devices...uh....welcome to Woodbine's world!

Friday Saratoga - Top Canadian-bred 2-year-old filly of last year, SUGAR SWIRL, is a main-track only entrant in the 3rd race. The daughter of Touch Gold won the Princess Elizabeth Stakes last year.

Maiden 2-yo race for New York-breds: Rail horse by Good and Tough worked in :22.00 and :22.20 for a 2yo sale - bad post; Pletcher 2yo worked in :10.60; and outside runner by Wheelaway also quick with a :10.60 prep at a sale.


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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

For all those Leaf fans...

The fastest 2yo at Woodbine so far is Barilko, the Colin Stakes winner....

William "Bashin' Bill" Barilko (born March 25, 1927 in Timmins, Ontario – died August 26, 1951 near Cochrane, Ontario) was a Canadian hockey player who played his entire National Hockey League career for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
In February 1947, Barilko was called up as an injury replacement for the Leafs from the Hollywood Wolves and played for the Maple Leafs until his death. During that span of five seasons, Barilko and the Toronto Maple Leafs were Stanley Cup champions on four occasions. Barilko is best known for scoring the overtime goal against the Montreal Canadiens' Gerry McNeil in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup final on April 21, 1951 to clinch the Cup for the Maple Leafs.
Four months later, on August 26, he joined his dentist, Henry Hudson, on a flight aboard Hudson's Fairchild 24 floatplane to northern Quebec en route to a fishing trip. On the return trip, the single-engine plane disappeared and its passengers remained missing despite a massive search. On June 7, 1962 a pilot discovered the wreckage of the plane about 100 kilometres(60 miles) north of Cochrane. Notably, the Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup that year, after not winning it at all during the eleven years that he was missing. The Tragically Hip's song "Fifty Mission Cap" (from their 1992 album Fully Completely) prominently features Barilko's tragic story and the absence of the Leafs victory until the year he was found.
He is one of only two players who have had their number (#5) retired by the Maple Leafs franchise.
Barilko's story was published in the 2004 book, Barilko — Without A Trace by Kevin Shea.


  • At 10:17 AM, Blogger Tote Board Brad said…

    What a greate tale. There's a lot of life worth reading (or writing) about that's just beneth the headline.


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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

After weekend dust (mud) settles

Mother Nature did not let up on Woodbine on the weekend and seven more inner dirt races were cancelled, all of Sunday.
The temporary thoroughbred surface, the usual harness track, still has enough banking on the turns that rain slides down to the rail, taking the surface with it.
Incredibly, the track was intact for Saturday's racing and the track played generally fair, with inside runners having good footing.

Big efforts:

BARILKO stamped himself a leader in the 2-year-old colt ranks with an 88 Beyer Figure run in the Colin Stakes. The sizy son of first-year sire E Dubai led all the way through 5 furlongs and won by four lengths. Owned and trained by Dave Dwyer, Barilko is named for Bill Barilko, who scored the gamde-winning goal in the Toronto Maple Leafs Stanley Cup win in 1967 (yes, that was the Leafs last Cup win)

ARE YOU SERIOUS proved those who said he was off form totally wrong as he scampered up the inside to win the Bold Venture Stakes over champion Judith's Wild Rush. Gardiner Farms bred the son of You and I who put up a 98 Beyer.

Sizzling hot Todd Kabel guided Bill Sorokolit's homebred SKY CONQUEROR to victory in the Grade 2 Northern Dancer Breeders' Cup, worth $700,000. The colt posted a career best 104 Beyer Figure but there were only 2 grass races that day (and two dirt races).


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Monday, July 17, 2006

No Triple Crown winner '06

Edenwold put up a brave fight in yesterday's Prince of Wales Stakes but the Queen's Plate winner could not duplicate his Woodbine heroics at Fort Erie, where many a favourite has met with defeat.
The Plate form slid in the 'Wales as Edenwold's winning Plate Beyer Figure of 94 was better than the disqualified Malakoff's 'Wales-winning Beyer of 91.
The ultimate 'Wales winner Shillelagh Slew's 90 Beyer was the best of his career.
The colt is the best offspring of his sire, Chief Seattle, a son of Seattle Slew who was graded stakes placed and now stands in New York State.
It was a rough day for Ontario Racing Commission stewards at Fort Erie and at Woodbine.
Malakoff, who arguably was always going to win the 'Wales, did cause some crowding and while Shillelagh Slew and Pipers Thunder steadied, it was Edenwold who took the worst of the stretch battle.
Todd Kabel, who appeared to have won his 4th stakes race in 24 hours, worked hard to win the race on Malakoff and was trying to keep the colt straight by whipping him left-handed but the colt drifted into the whip.
At Woodbine, a messy first-race saw the fading juvenile Spike C.C. come over and cause crowding in the stretch but the colt finished 5th and behind the ones he interfered with. Surprisingly, Devoy, ridden by Emma-Jayne Wilson, was disqualified even though that one was interfered with and could not avoid squeezing out Gamble on Love on the rail.
Later in the day, a troubled Bold n' Classic was in an incident with a fading Maria Bonita in the 5th race and while it appeared that the ofrmer's rider inadvertently hit that rival over the head with the whip, the result was not touched.

TRAJECTORY RED-HOT - Ontario stallion Trajectory sired another stakes winner in 2006 when the very promising MIDNIGHT SHADOW held on to win the Shady Well Stakes under Ray Sabourin. The filly's Beyer Figure was a smart 82. Trajectory is also the sire of impressive 2yo winner Dancer's Bajan and 3yo stakes winner London Snow.

MARTY - FRIEND OF BLOG FRIENDS - Thoroughblog's favourite Winnipeg horseman MARTIN DREXLER took Saturday's Debutante Stakes at Assiniboia Downs with former Woodbine 2yo EMMA'S TOUCH, an Ontario-bred daughter of Touch Gold. Drexler, who visits Woodbine each fall, is now 13 for 53 at the meeting and 5th in the trainer's standings.


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Monday, July 10, 2006

Edenwold preps for Wales

Queen's Plate winner EDENWOLD skipped down to Fort Erie racetrack at 5 a.m. this morning, breezed 5 furlongs in 1:00 4/5 and then was headed back to Woodbine or a Fort Erie residence (a decision will be made later this morning)
The colt was working over the surface to get ready for the Prince of Wales, the second jewel of the Canadian Triple Crown.
Malakoff, Sterwins and Shillelagh Slew will get another chance to get past the gritty Edenwold in Sunday's race.


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Sunday, July 09, 2006

Fast, fair: Inner Dirt meet starts at Woodbine

While Secretariat may be wincing in horse heaven, the track on which the great horse completed his career made its debut as a thoroughbred dirt surface yesterday at Woodbine.
Formerly the inner turf course at 50-year-old Woodbine and then a harness track until this past week, the inner dirt surface - seven-furlongs in circumference - is the temporary track for the TBreds until late August, early September while Polytrack is installed.
It was a remarkable turnaround from harness surface to thoroughbred dirt and while the track started off sizzling fast with its times, the surface played fairly for the most part.
SPREAD THE NEWS became the first SW to his sire Cat's at Home when winning the Clarendon Stakes for Ontario-foaled babies. The leggy gelding earned a low 62 Beyer Figure and defeated maiden Mutakinmove by a long neck.

*Woodbine regular HIGH BLITZ won the Mr. Prospector Stakes at Monmouth Park yesterday for trainer Justin Nixon and owner Stronach Stables.

*The mutuel clerks strike came to an end after 16-days. Fans were greeted with lots of prizes in voucher-form if they used the betting machines yesterday.


LIFESTYLE finished 6th in the Breeders' Cup Sprint at Belmont last year, was beaten just over 5 lengths, and today is racing for $40K claiming at Woodbine. Horse is off form but certainly the class of the 1st race field, if he's quick enough to handle 5 furlongs.

First year sire GRAEME HALL had another winner yesterday in Flower Arrangement and has BIRD ON THE RUN in race 2. The grey colt worked in 21 4/5 for a 2yo sale in March.

More fun in race 4 (first leg of the WIN 4, eeks) as 2-year-olds go on the grass. Sam-Son's OCALA SKY looks very likely based on her breeding (her dam Sky Alliance was a SW at 2 over the boys on turf).

Big fields rule the card again and the Ontario Damsel is in the middle of the Win 4. The 6 1/2 furlong turf dash is wid eopen although Seductively will take betting support in her grass debut simply because of her 3rd place finisher in the Woodbine Oaks. With little grass breeding, however, look to others like EXECUTIVE FLIGHT (red-hot Darwin Banach barn) and the Reade Baker gals Classical Miss and Gold Quest.


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Sunday, July 02, 2006

Woodbine track going out with roar

An 11-year-old track record for 7 furlongs was beaten on Sunday afternoon at Woodbine as the main track, which will be replaced by Polytrack after holiday Monday's card, continues to play hard and fast.
Luna Canyon, a 3-year-old claimer, broke down in an early race on the card.
The track record was set by Financingavailable, who sped to the lead in the Sweet Briar Too Stakes and won in 1:20 1/5. Eeeks.
Maidens were seen racing 6 furlongs in 1:09 later in the card.
Meanwhile, Saturday's card started 24 minutes late because the ambulance driver was stuck in the picket lines of striking mutuel clerks, which continue to make life miserable for race goers and others who have to work at Woodbine.


Thank you to "anonymous" for the note on viewership for the Plate on TSN (see below 0r in Archives). Indeed, the presence of the Plate on a big name network helps racing in this country and following a World Cup soccor game didn't hurt the ratings.
As for the production, the show was quite good in most aspects except for the camera work during the race.
Back and forth from close-ups on horses to pan shots only made a viewer dizzy and whoever was working those cameras, does not have a flair for the focus control. Dreadful coverage of the running of the race but all features and personalities were solid.

Anyone else ready for a week off from racing at Woodbine? (Racing returns Saturday July after tomorrow's card)


  • At 9:52 PM, Anonymous peter PM said…

    From PM - i saw this run on the WO concrete in a bet shop in Calgary - no one was impressed -they see animals go faster when you drop em over a cliff- ah but i was on hand when Fair Juror set what seemed an impossible record for 6 1/2 that blew all my speed figs out for two decades so i know how swift the woody can be-
    sunday i may catch your racing in a shop in either Salmon Arm or Kamloops where serious students will do what they can to improve the breed- all holding the country together exactor by exactor


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Thanks Funny!

(Funny Cide at Woodbine, July 1, 2006)


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The Funny Cide of Saturday

Courtesy Toronto Star

He travels with his own special brand of bottled water and his own hay and oats but don’t call Funny Cide a snob.
The 6-year-old gelding is entitled to all the special attention a celebrity deserves.
The winner of the 2003 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes and oh-so close to becoming racing’s 12th Triple Crown winner, Funny Cide is still as popular as ever.
Yesterday, Funny Cide made his first international trip a winning one as the gritty gelding led all the way to win the $200,800 Dominion Day Stakes at Woodbine.
It was the 31st career start for the popular gelding, who attracted hundreds of adoring fans, young and old, to the Etobicoke track, all cramming to get a snapshot of their equine hero.
Funny Cide, who became the first gelding in 74 years to win the Derby, was the fifth Derby winner to race at Woodbine and the first to win there since Secretariat won the Canadian International in 1973.
And while the majority of Derby winners in the last three-quarters of a century years were whisked off to stud not long after the Derby score, Funny Cide continues to race.
These days, the gelding has his own website and line of merchandise from t-shirts to bobbleheads and mugs and mouse pads.
“Every week there are numerous emails on his website from fans,” said Jack Knowlton, one of 10 owners who make up the Sackatoga Stable, based in New York.
“It allows people to follow him and know where he’s going to race next.”
Indeed, it’s not hard to see Funny Cide knows he is special as he pranced into the Woodbine walking ring yesterday afternoon, dragging his caretakers along with him.
“He’s kind of a ham, he likes the attention,” said Knowlton. “He knows he’s the man.”
Now older and wiser than he was when he marched through the Derby and Preakness. Funny Cide seemingly does only what needs to be done these days to win races.
Since his Preakness score, the New York-bred has won four stakes races but is certainly not as fast as he used to be.
“He’s got a mind of his own,” said jockey Richard Migliore, who was aboard for the Dominion Day score. “He’s strong willed and been around long enough that he knows how he wants to do things.”
You could say fame has gone a bit to Funny Cide’s long and attractive caramel-coloured head.
Not only does his human travel companion (yesterday it was Derek Sturniolo) have to bring the horse’s equipment and supplies from his home base at Belmont Park in New York but be ready for some sparring when bathing or grooming the 2003 champion 3-year-old.
“He still thinks he’s a stud horse,” said Sturniolo. “He’ll rear up and try to bite but he’s not mean about it, he’s just a showoff.”
Funny Cide’s longtime caretaker, Robin Smullen, the assistant trainer to Barclay Tagg, said Funny Cide still attracts a lot of attention wherever he goes.
“There are backstretch tours at Belmont and they stop by our barn and announce that Funny Cide lives there, he’s a hometown hero.”
Migliore, one of the North America’s top riders, has only ridden Funny Cide four times but knows what the crafty veteran gelding is all about, especially after his last race on May 20 at Pimlico racecourse in Baltimore, Maryland.
“I was going to end up four or five wide on the first turn so I tucked in to save ground,” said Migliore. “But the dirt hit him in the face and he got mad. I tried to restrain him, then when I asked him to run, he didn’t want to go.
“You just have to hope he’s in the right frame of mind because he can be a grumpy old guy sometimes.”
On his way back to the winner’s circle after putting away the very tough Cryptograph in the 1 ¼ mile Dominion Day, Funny Cide was greeted by a loud ovation from the crowd.
“We’ve been international now with him,” said Knowlton. “He‘s taken us places we never thought we’d go. So many great American horses have come up (to Woodbine) to do well and now we can add Funny Cide to that list.”


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Saturday, July 01, 2006

What's so Funny?

Bolstered by a $188,000 (!!) Pick 7 carryover, fans are in for a treat at Woodbine today.
While the Pick 7 races look brutally tough, how about coming down to the paddock for the 9th race to see American hero FUNNY CIDE, the 2003 Kentucky Derby winner.
Funny arrived at 5 a.m. this morning and was nestled in his stall in Nancy Triola's barn on the Woodbine backstretch when this corner made a visit this morning.
Equipped with his own buckets and blankets and mints and carrots, Funny Cide was taking a morning nap on this quiet part of the backstretch.
Many handicappers will try the beat the often quirky Funny Cide in the Dominion Day Handicap and certainly CRYPTOGRAPH is getting lots of attention after a troubled trip in his latest.
Big fields on grass and for maiden 2-year-olds should test the skills of players today.


  • At 9:16 PM, Blogger Milhouse said…

    What a thrill it was to see Funny Cide at Woodbine today! He was only the fifth Kentucky Derby winner to race at Woodbine. In the walking ring today he had a presence about him. He was dragging his handlers around the walking ring and on his way out to the racetrack unseated rider Richard Migliore twice. But on the race track he went right to the front and showed that the old guy still has some tricks up his sleeve. Thanks for a great Canada Day Funny Cide!

  • At 9:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Jen in an earlier message you mentioned that the late post time for the Queen's Plate made for a late and long day. Well if the t.v. numbers are any indication it was worth the wait. According to the Toronto Star on Tuesday June 27, 2006 - 345,000 viewers watched the Plate up from 79,000 in 2005. Lets hope the viewers keep watching with the Prince of Wahles coming up on July 16th. It sounds like many from the Plate are going to go which will make for an interesting race.


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